An Introduction to Encomium

Encomium (derives from the Greek word “enkomion,” literally means “to praise”) is a form of speech revealing the greatness of virtuous actions and other good qualities. This involves a fancy composition or a piece of writing that warmly praises someone, animals, ideas, or abstract phenomena.

Encomium or Encomia (plural), which is the opposite of invectiveOpens in new window (a discourse that blames or denigrates something or someone) can be in verbal, or in written form. It can be in form of a tribute, or eulogy, where someone or the subject (here subject can be anything in life) is attributed optimum honour, recognition, and praises. Encomium is also very prominent in farewell speeches where the subject is lavished with praises.

GeorgiaOpens in new window’s famous Encomium of Helen of TroyOpens in new window offers several justifications for excusing Helen of Troy’s adultery – notably, that she was persuaded by speech, which is a “powerful lord” or “powerful drug” depending on the translation.

A good example of encomium is the eulogies or speeches of praise that accompany the presentation of a particular award to the recipients in formal events such as OscarsOpens in new window, Mama awardsOpens in new window, etc.

Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae, Figures | EncomiumOpens in new window